It's been a week when almost everything in the garden seems to have put on a growth spurt and some of the native plants which I sowed in 2002 are finally flowering. There is still plenty of interest being shown in the garden by birds looking for nest sites.
Red campion sowed in 2002.
In the autumn of 2002 I sowed a packet of wildflower seed (wetland mix) in the 'boggy' area behind my pond which I created by sinking some unused pond liner about 40cm below the surface (though in truth I think I added too many drainage holes because it doesn't tend to be truly boggy). Some of the seeds germinated last year and this year many, particularly the red campion (Silene dioica
) and meadow buttercup (Rannunculus acris
) are beginning to flower well. All in all this has proved to be a very economical way to generate a large number of new plants.
Though none of the nestboxes I have in my garden have been used this year, and all the early attempts at nesting by blackbirds (e.g. 14th March
and 12th April
) failed, there is still plenty of interest being shown in the garden by prospective nesting bird. In particular a wren (Troglodytes troglodytes
) has built a nest in some ivy (Hedera helix
) covering an old tree stump. I'm not sure whether or not it is being used yet since the male of this species builds a number of nests from which his mate chooses one.
Cat baffle to prevent my cat from worrying the house martins.
As reported last week (4th May
), house martins (Delichon urbica
) are back in the area and during the week I have noticed them inspecting the apex of a gable end where they used to nest on my house (ignoring the artificial nest box which I place slightly to one side). Wondering why the stopped nesting on my house, I realised that they did so shortly after we got our cat. Although their nests are too inaccessible to be threatened by her, she did like to sit on the window sill and watch them from inside the house! Of course this could have worried the birds and contributed to them moving elsewhere. This year I've made a simple device from a plank of wood which prevents the cat from resting in her usual spot: a couple of triangular shaped pieces of wood screwed into the plank ensure that it rests at a 45 degreee angle on the window sill. I'm hoping that this 'cat baffle' might tip the balance in favour of them coming back.